Spartacus feels the clock in his head ticking down the hours, minutes, and seconds to his death, just like every month. It's not fun, but he's got more or less used to it.
Gritta: Don't fret, Spart. I'm here with you, if you change your mind.
Gritta is ~~ concerned ~~ that if Spart hates channel's transfer, he'll refuse to go in-T, so had planned to serve him this time too.
Spartacus: Can't. We gotta go live there, we gotta live by their rules.
Spartacus can still speak, which is a good sign.
Gritta puts her selyn-laden arm around her son and provides ~~ support ~~ in her idiosyncratic, self-taught way.
Spartacus relaxes a little, but of course the clock isn't disrupted one bit.
Gritta refrains from asking her son whether he zlins anything yet. Hajene Seruffin told her they'd be here by noon, but she doesn't want to add to Spart's stress level.
Nick follows his channel through the woods.
Nick: Can you zlin him yet?
Katsura: Yes. He zlins nervous and excited. He doesn't zlin us yet. We'll be there in a few minutes at this rate.
Nick: Good. I was afraid he'd decide not to come, after all. Shall I shield your nager from him as long as possible?
Katsura: Do you think it's necessary?
Nick: I don't know. Do you think he'll bolt?
Katsura: He shouldn't be afraid of a Sime, I wouldn't think. Would he? I mean, it's the local Gens who are a danger to him.
Katsura isn't sure what an out-T Sime will do, given the proverbial unpredictability of the out-T Gen. She relies on Nick as an expert in out-T psychology.
Nick: He may zlin you as a threat, just because your nager is strong enough to dominate his.
Katsura: Here I'm getting to understand Wild Gens a bit, and now I have to figure out Wild Simes.
Nick: Always expanding your horizons.
Nick reaches for her hand and squeezes.
Katsura smiles and squeezes back. She'd wrap her tentacles around his hand but she's wearing retainers.
Katsura: I guess he'd mostly react instinctively, since he'd never zlinned another Sime before he met Seruffin. He'll probably be able to zlin us soon, if he's paying attention. Should we call out his name?
Nick: Let's get a little closer, first. Call out when he's noticed us.
Katsura: Okay. I can zlin his mother as well. Can you explain to her that she should stay well out of zlinning range for this to work? Without making either of them nervous?
Nick is feeling ~~ confident ~~ after his better-than-expected (by him) horsetrading session with Coleman.
Spartacus isn't actively looking -- no, zlinning -- for anybody, but when the overall weirdness of a channel/Donor pair impinges on his field, he becomes ~~ alert ~~. He can't help zlinning them despite his mother's best efforts to protect him from everything.
Katsura: Ah, he's zlinned us now.
Spartacus: (softly) Hajene Seruffin?
Katsura: Mr. Spartacus?
Katsura calls more loudly than Spartacus did.
Spartacus is ~~ startled ~~ to hear a woman's voice.
Katsura and Nick push through into the clearing.
Katsura: Hello. I'm Hajene Katsura and this is Sosu Nick. Hajene Seruffin felt I'd be more a more suitable channel for you.
Nick steps out, drawing a little ahead of Kat to help control the ambient.
Katsura stays a little back, but still in Gritta's sight, studying her nager and how she's supporting her son. The linkage is too unreserved, for a Donor not intending to give transfer. Poor woman is going to have a lot to unlearn, but she definitely has talent and her sincere selyur nager has a certain naive beauty.
Nick: Good day, Spartacus. Gritta, it's good to see you again.
Gritta: We're glad to see you too, Sosu Nick.
Gritta lets go of Spart and steps back a little. She can feel something going on, but doesn't have enough experience to interpret it.
Nick approaches ~~ casually ~~ inserting himself and his nager between Gritta and her son.
Nick: That's right. We'll take good care of Spartacus.
Spartacus: Nick? As in Nick Debree?
Spartacus may be a backwoods hick, but even he's heard the ballads.
Katsura smiles and lets Nick take it.
Nick: I did use that name once, but I'm Nick ambrov Sat'htine, now.
Spartacus: Well, I'm Spartacus, but most people call me Spart, that is, when they call me anything at all. I like to keep a low profile these days.
Nick: I can see why.
Spartacus extends his hand to shake, in Gen T fashion. It's the only form of greeting he knows.
Nick touches fingers.
Spartacus takes back his hand and looks at his fingertips in ~~ mild puzzlement ~~.
Nick: How long would it be before you would normally have transfer, Spart?
Spartacus: One hour, twenty-two minutes, fifteen seconds till I die. Usually I -- feed -- just before that.
Nick glances at Kat to see how close Spart is. He knows that inexperienced Simes often confuse the time of death with the onset of hard need.
Katsura makes a more-or-less gesture. It appears that Gritta has been serving Spart well before he comes close to real attrition, in a Tecton-approved pattern.
Spartacus looks from Donor to channel in ~~ confusion ~~.
Spartacus: Everything okay? Are we gonna -- do it?
Spartacus: I mean --
Katsura steps forward, lightly engages the renSime's nager and offers ~~ comfort ~~ and ~~ security ~~.
Katsura: Of course. Everything will work out all right.
Spartacus feels better.
Nick: Gritta, it will be easier for Spartacus if you would give him some privacy.
Gritta: Um. You okay with that Spart? I'll just get out of your range, mostly.
Nick offers ~~ reassurance ~~ to Spart.
Spartacus: Yeah, Ma. She's -- taking care of me. Now, anyhow.
Gritta assumed she would witness and support her son, but realizes now that that might interfere.
Gritta: Good. Hajene Seruffin says she's real good at this, the best they have down there. I'll be right back afterwards.
Gritta is a little ~~ uncertain ~~, but tries to conceal this in her untrained way. In addition to her ~~ motherly concern ~~ she's got a bit of a transfer dependency although she doesn't know it.
Gritta: I'll go behind that rise there.
Nick: Go on. When you return, Kat can lower your field. That will give you some money for travel expenses.
Gritta nods to the channel and Companion and strides off ~~ determinedly~~.
Nick gives a silent sigh of relief, that he doesn't allow to reflect in his nager.
Spartacus: Uhh, what now? I mean, I can't just go for your arms, can I?
Nick shifts his nager to make it subservient to Kat's.
Katsura: Let's just sit here and chat a bit, okay? I'll give you transfer as soon as you like.
Nick helps Kat remove her retainers then settles down on her other side, letting her work but offering ~~ support ~~.
Spartacus sits down, but chat escapes him for the moment.
Katsura gradually increases her engagement with the renSime's field, and encourages ~~ calm ~~ and ~~ security ~~ and as much ~~ optimism ~~ as possible with a young Sime in hard need.
Spartacus: So, uh, what, uh, ....
Katsura: Channel's transfer is a little different from direct transfer from a Gen. In addition to holding each other's arms, we'll entwine our lateral tentacles and I'll give you selyn that way.
Spartacus: Our which tentacles?
Katsura extends hers, in demonstration.
Spartacus: Oh, these?
Katsura: It's the laterals that draw the selyn. The handling tentacles secure our grip and protect the laterals, as well as being useful during the rest of the month.
Spartacus: Oh. I -- I didn't know. I -- just kinda let it happen, hey?
Nick watches Spartacus to see if he is comfortable discussing Sime matters.
Spartacus is ~~ confused ~~ but not embarrassed any more.
Katsura: Young Simes are often like that. You're young and healthy and have no fear of transfer, so you can just do what comes naturally. When you come in-T you'll learn more about being Sime, and what Simes can do with their senses and talents.
Katsura emphasizes the positive.
Spartacus: Umm, good. I guess. Do we gotta wait out the whole time, or can we go ahead, since you're a channel and all? I mean, I'm used to waiting all night for things, but ....
Nick projects a bit of ~~ no hurry, it's all right ~~.
Katsura: When you're in-T, you'll have to keep to a schedule something like what you and your mother have been doing. You'll get enough selyn for all your needs, as well as some extra for some augmentation.
Spartacus: Augmentation, that's having more of something?
Nick is ~~ pleased ~~ at how easily Spart is talking to Kat.
Katsura: Simes can move much faster, or lift heavier weights, or generally work much harder by using more selyn. That's called augmentation. It feels very good, but too much isn't good for you, and if you come up short because you've been augmenting you may have to pay more than the ordinary. Of course, if there's an emergency, you can augment freely.
Spartacus: I thought it might be something like that.
Spartacus takes his poetry book out of his pocket.
Spartacus: I read a lot of this in the nights. It keeps my brains from going round and round like a windmill. Definitely stretches your vocabulary.
Katsura thinks it's a shame that the Sime has lost his First Year stuck on an isolated farm with nothing much to stretch his mind on.
Katsura: You'll find more to read in Nivet. We have public libraries where you can borrow all the books you like, for free.
Spartacus uses his vocabulary this time.
Katsura: Do you like poetry?
Spartacus: Well, maybe. I never read any before. But like I said, it keeps my mind from circling while Mom and and my brother sleep.
Katsura: Do you have a favorite one you'd like to tell us about?
Katsura is hoping to develop a personal rapport with the young man as well as a nageric one. It should make it easier for him to successfully take transfer from her, and she's ~~ interested ~~ in and ~~ sympathetic ~~ toward this out-T Sime and his unusual situation.
Spartacus: Well, I kinda like this one called "Dover Beach". I don't understand most of it, y'see, but the ending, I get that all right.
Spartacus thumbs through the book and reads the final lines:
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help from pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Spartacus: I've thought about that one a lot.
Katsura meditates on the words, which challenge her Genlan, and the emotions that Spart expresses when he reads them.
Spartacus: Really the only thing we've got out here is each other. Everything else just leads to pain and death for reasons that nobody even begins to understand.
Spartacus is rather surprised that he can talk so freely at this point, but chalks it up to Kat's channel magic.
Nick notes with ~~ satisfaction ~~ that Spart is fixing nicely on Kat.
Spartacus: Just like the only thing here is going to be you and me ... I guess.
Nick notes that Spart has forgotten his presence.
Katsura: It's a beautiful poem. It could have been written by a pre-Unity Householder, a Sime in need perhaps. But I suppose it was written out here, by a Gen.
Spartacus: Says here it goes back to the Ancients.
Katsura: Interesting. Would you let me borrow your book on our way to Nivet?
Spartacus: Sure, I guess so, hey?
Katsura increases her engagement with the renSime's field, continuing to project ~~ comfort ~~ and ~~ safety ~~, but reduces her suppression of the man's need and projects a little ~~ willingness to give ~~.
Nick adjusts his nager to ~~ reinforce ~~ Kat's manipulations.
Katsura: How do you feel now? Are you getting ready for transfer?
Spartacus: Any time, I guess. I feel -- well, not quite ready, but ready to be ready, hey?
Katsura smiles, letting the Sime's intil gradually rise, and increasing her projection of ~~ offering ~~.
Katsura: Good. Take my hands and I'll show you the standard grip.
Katsura extends her hands, ~~ no hurry ~~ ~~ more than ample selyn just for you ~~.
Spartacus takes Katsura's hands with no particular problem.
Katsura: See, we put our handling tentacles like this... good.
Spartacus also entwines his handling tentacles with ~~ confidence ~~. He's never done any of this before, but he uses his tentacles all the time, and it's not really hard at all.
Nick watches closely, ready to assist if problems develop.
Katsura releases her control of the Sime's intil and steps up her projection of ~~ willingly offering unlimited selyn ~~ mixed with the ~~ love ~~ and ~~ compassion ~~ she's sure Gritta provides her son.
Katsura: Next we'll entwine our laterals, and when you're ready, we'll touch lips and you can draw as much as you like, as fast as you like.
Spartacus doesn't hear this, but his laterals lick out anyway, because he has gone ~~ hyperconscious ~~.
Katsura entwines his laterals with hers, and leans forward for the fifth contact.
Spartacus is used to waiting for his mother to make the fifth contact, but he goes ahead and pushes his head forward to meet Katsura's. Unfortunately, he's a little off, and the contact made is his lips to her cheek.
Katsura turns her head and meets the man's lips, pushing the first few dynopters to induce him to draw.
Spartacus draws as fast and hard as he can from the ~~ super-Gen ~~ he's touching -- and it goes more powerfully and smoothly than he's ever felt in his life. His mother's style of transfer is completely forgotten for the moment.
Katsura provides the best transfer she can, as always, ~~ pleased ~~ that she's overcoming the dependency Spart has on his mother so readily.
Nick ~~ reinforces ~~ her efforts with his usual subtle artistry.
Spartacus suddenly remembers who's who and what's what, and his ~~ confidence ~~ drains out like water in a bucket whose bottom has dropped out. From perfect draw, he teeters on the verge of ~~ abort ~~.
Katsura infuses ~~ confidence ~~ and pushes selyn, grasping control of the transfer with a strength and delicacy that makes her control imperceptible to the Sime as anything but his own emotions.
Nick reaches out to add ~~ Gen temptation ~~ to the mix.
Spartacus finds that the idea of drawing from a stranger and a Sime is ~~ perfectly fine with him ~~ now, and his draw resumes, ~~ peaking ~~ and then going down the right side of the bell curve.
Katsura shares and intensifies Spart's feelings of ~~ joy ~~ and ~~ satisfaction ~~, adding the ~~ pleasure of a satisfied Gen ~~ he's no doubt used to zlinning from his mother.
Spartacus ~~ glories ~~ in the return of joy, love, light, certitude, peace, and help from pain. He drops ~~ hypo ~~ and releases his grip, but of course Katsura needs to let go too. How strange that is.
Nick smiles, his nager ~~ shimmering ~~ .
Katsura smiles too. That went well, better than expected.
Spartacus feels the usual huge surge of ~~ lust ~~ and spends his first available energy at ~~ suppressing it completely ~~, just like he's used to doing. He wouldn't want to be sporting wood in his mother's arms, now would he?
Katsura finds that interesting. It's very good that Spart has developed such control -- it will be very helpful to him when he's in Nivet, surrounded by Simes.
Spartacus thinks this channel's transfer is really all right, and it sure felt great, even though he just met Katsura and he's known his mother all his life. Maybe things will all work out well. ~~ post-transfer optimism ~~
Katsura turns to Nick, smiles and nods.